October 06, 2022

DHA eNews - Russian Timber Bypasses U.S. Sanctions & Tariffs

This Week's Insights

DHA and hardwood plywood made news in Washington this week as The Washington Post reported on Russian birch imports by way of China and Vietnam. Earlier this year, shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, DHA reported about large volumes of birch plywood imports through Vietnam and noted this material was likely Russian. Now, a new study by the Environmental Investigation Agency has documented this activity. DHA also reported recently that the Commerce Department determined that imports of hardwood plywood from Vietnam were circumventing duties on Chinese plywood. This story will add additional scrutiny to these unfair and illegal trade practices.

In another sign that further regulatory restrictions on domestic forest management may be coming, the US Fish and Wildlife Services has proposed listing tricolored bats on the Endangered Species List. DHA and the Hardwood Federation will comment on the proposed listing and highlight previous findings that bats benefit from healthy managed forests and that the decline in bat species is unrelated to forestry.

On a positive note, a bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation to improve forest management. Although time is running out in this Congress, DHA will work with the Hardwood Federation and other allies to support the legislation in 2023.

If you have questions or comments, contact me. I look forward to hearing from you.

Keith A. Christman, President
Decorative Hardwoods Association


Photo © 123rf.com

Russian Timber Bypasses U.S. Sanctions & Tariffs, Reports The Washington Post

Researchers at the Environmental Investigation Agency have shown that most birch products—including hardwood plywood—currently being exported from Vietnam to the U.S. originate in Russia. About 40,000 cubic meters of birch is transported every month from Russia and China into Vietnam, where it is assembled into furniture and plywood. Much of this is exported to other countries, including the U.S. This story was picked up and reported by The Washington Post, too.

USFWS Proposes Endangered Listing For Tricolored Bats

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed listing the tricolored bat under the Endangered Species Act after seeing significant decreases in bat population caused by white-nose syndrome. The proposed listing is likely to expand buffer zones within the bat's habitat and add seasonal restrictions on forest management practices. USFWS will accept comments through November 14.

Bipartisan Tree-Thinning Bill Introduced

Senators Manchin and Barrasso introduced a bipartisan bill to improve forest restoration and wildfire risk. The bill would require federal agencies to double the number of acres thinned mechanically by 2025, and quadruple that by 2027.

Members Of Congress Object To Chinese Dumping Of Cabinets

In a letter to the Commerce Department in support of their state's kitchen cabinet manufacturers and workers, Alabama's members of Congress expressed their concern about the first administrative review of the antidumping duty order on wooden cabinets from China. The delegation asked that the Secretary of Commerce "vigorously enforce" U.S. trade remedy laws to protect "constituents and the U.S. cabinet industry from China's continued unfair trade practices."

AHF Launches Dogwood Pro Flooring For Independent Retailers

AHF Products, a DHA member, has launched Dogwood™ densified engineered wood flooring. The product will be available exclusively for independent retailers. Waterproof and four times more scratch-resistant than traditional floors, Dogwood™ flooring is specifically designed to be highly resistant to scratches, gouges, and dents—and pet nails and accidents.

Source: AHF Products

Wood Manufacturing Is Growing, Despite Pressure From Inflation

Total industrial production increased 0.6% in July, up nearly 4% vs. last year. Production of wood products is up 4.4% vs. one year ago. Manufacturing output gained 0.7% after having fallen 0.4% in each of the two previous months. See the chart above for key industrial activity metrics.

Hardwood Flooring Industry Tackles Economic Issues

In 2021, the U.S. hardwood industry saw its first year of revenue gains since 2016, helped by increases in the housing and remodeling markets. Experts report price increases of an average of 16% for engineered wood products, including flooring.

Capital Testing Posts FAQs On ASTM E662

Capital Testing, a leader in testing and certification services, has published detailed information on its ASTM E662 Smoke Density Test. The test measures how much smoke is generated by materials that are burning or smoldering and is typically required for planes, trains, and buses, and by the U.S. military.

State Foresters, Send Us Your Tree-Planting Requests!

The Hardwood Forestry Fund's deadline for submitting requests for funding is October 31. See HFF's guidelines before submitting your proposal, or contact Eva Mentel at 703-435-2900 for more information.

U.S. Forest Service Experiments With Relocating Trees For Climate Change

Scientists are currently involved with assisted migration: moving species of trees from where they currently grow to areas where researchers predict they will grow in the future, as the climate warms. The idea is that these trees will be better adapted to tolerate climate-induced warming and droughts.

The Effect Of Carbon Fertilization On Forests

The per-acre volume of wood in U.S. trees has increased over the past 50 years. Researchers have investigated possible causes: forest management, forest recovery from agriculture, or other environmental factors such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen deposition, or climate change. New research shows that elevated carbon dioxide has had a strong and consistently positive effect on wood volume.

Researchers Identify Natural Process Of Formaldehyde Formation In Wood

A new study has identified how low levels of formaldehyde are produced, naturally, in wood. As trees grow, they absorb trace amounts of iron. After a tree is harvested and turned into lumber, this highly reactive iron meets the air and forms oxygen radicals that combine with the lignin to form formaldehyde, which seeps out of the wood into the air.

Supreme Court Decision Ruled A Win For Forest Workers

The Supreme Court of Canada declined to hear an appeal of the British Columbia Court of Appeal injunction in Tree Farm License 46 on Southern Vancouver Island. Keeping the injunction in place allows law enforcement to protect forest workers, contractors, and those using the forest from protest actions including spiked trees, sabotage, harassment, and misinformation campaigns.

U.S. New-Home Sales Surge
U.S. Multifamily Housing Starts Soar
U.S. & Canadian Housing Starts Not Yet Humbled By Higher Interest Rates
Fed Says U.S. Housing Market Headed For "Correction"
More Homebuilders Lower Prices As Sentiment Falls For 9 Months In A Row
Housing Industry Still Concerned About Barriers To Homeownership
Expect Housing Starts To Return To Pre-Pandemic Levels Next Year
Prices Of Building Materials Grow By 14.3%
U.S. Hardwood Flooring Imports Are Up By 22%
Forest Quiz: Test Your Knowledge

What is the most common tree in Canada?

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